Acceptability of diagnostic tests for breast cancer

Wenchi Liang, William F. Lawrence, Caroline B. Burnett, Yi Ting Hwang, Matthew Freedman, Bruce J. Trock, Jeanne S. Mandelblatt, Marc E. Lippman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose. To assess the acceptability of new non-invasive breast cancer diagnostic tests intended to triage women in need of biopsy. Methods. Women who had abnormal screening tests and had been recommended to have a biopsy were invited to receive digital mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine evaluation (Tc-99m-sestamibi scanning) before biopsy. Participants completed a questionnaire about satisfaction and acceptability of the procedures. Satisfaction measured women's overall and test-specific satisfaction. Acceptability was measured by self-reported discomfort, embarrassment and women's preference in terms of willingness to pay to avoid a biopsy. Results. Women were satisfied with all of the potential diagnostic triage procedures. Most found the tests more comfortable than a routine mammogram (47, 50, and 66% undergoing MRI, digital mammography, and sestamibi scanning, respectively). Women who provided a response to willingness to pay questions (N = 43) were willing to pay an average of $611 to have a test instead of a biopsy, if the test was as accurate as biopsy. The willingness to pay significantly decreased to $308 if the test only had 95% accuracy. Those who had prior benign breast disease were less willing to pay for a test with 95% accuracy than those without this history. Conclusion. Instead of immediate biopsy after an abnormal screening, these results suggest that women would find non-invasive triage tests acceptable, or preferable to biopsy if they were equally accurate or nearly equally accurate as a biopsy. New technologies to diagnose breast cancer should focus on decreasing discomfort as well as increasing test accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Biopsy
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging
  • Digital mammography
  • Satisfaction
  • Tc-99m-sestamibi scanning
  • Test acceptability
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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